Inside the boundaries of the city of Worcester the canal is spanned by many bridges. Some of these are modern and in good condition. Some are old but in a good condition which shows off the bricks which are themselves an important part of Worcester industrial history. However, several are deteriorating and in need of attention. We have the permission of the Canal and River Trust to give these bridges that attention. Three in particular stand out. They are all of the same square design and at present are painted the same unattractive dark green colour. They are marked with graffiti, are reputed to be the site of drug trafficking and are certainly close to spots where quite serious police incidents have occurred in the last year.
Our idea is to turn these sites into a heritage trail by painting the large rectangular canal facing side of these bridges with scenes reflecting the importance of the canal to Worcester life over the last two hundred years. An indication of the kind of effect this can produce can already be seen. With the cooperation of the property developers currently working on the site we recently painted a number of the temporary hoardings facing the canal behind what was one of the stands of the Worcester City Football Club ground. This work was done jointly with residents of St Paul’s Hostel. It has been well received. So:
Bridge one: St Georges Lane North. This is next to the Cavalier public house which will be demolished and redeveloped in the near future. More importantly it is very close to what was the St Georges lane football ground. Worcester city football club have gone and there is nothing to show that they were ever there. We would like to paint a football related scene here. For example, Worcester City scoring to knock Liverpool out of the FA cup. We would expect to talk to the supporters club with a view to involving them.
Bridge two: Lansdowne Road. This adjoins the site of the Water Festival. Here we would like to show the Arborteum as it was when it was an arboretum. There is extensive cross over between our group and the Arboretum Residents association. We anticipate undertaking this jointly with them.
Bridge three: Park Street: The canal here was vital to Worcesters industries. We would like to show this, perhaps by reproducing some of the distinctive Royal Worcester Porcelain patterns. We would expect to discuss this with the staff at the Royal Worcester Porcelain museum.
Costs are difficult to estimate accurately at this stage. Some repair work will need to be carried out to make the surfaces suitable for painting and that has not yet been costed. A solid background coat of paint will be needed. The paints used will need to be suitable for exterior use and some may, such as those for the porcelain , may need to be mixed as a “one off” colour. There will need to be safety precautions taken and signs put up. £100 per bridge would be an optimistic estimate. So we are asking for £300.
Having said that, once work begins it can be completed fairly quickly. The hoardings already referred to took four people one week. Better preparation of surfaces and use of longer lasting materials adds to that. Even so, four weeks will probably be adequate. We would like to start as soon as possible and have the work completed in time for the Water Festival in June.